Skip to Content

Google’s New Mobile Payment System Sends Money via Sound

September 18, 2017

The company's new digital payment app, called Tez, allows people in India to use a phone to pay for goods in physical stores and online, or make payments to other bank accounts. It’s different from the (already incredibly popular) Indian service PayTM in that it links a phone directly with a bank account, rather than having the user top up a digital wallet with money.

The Financial Times reports ($) that, unlike many other mobile payment systems that rely on NFC to make payments, Google offers users the ability to make use of a technology called AudioQR to transfer funds. The approach allows any two phones with mics and speakers to communicate with each other using ultrasound, above the range of human hearing, to arrange a transaction. That will be particularly useful in a country where not everyone has a high-spec device.

Google has also trademarked the name Tez in other Asian countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines, according to TechCrunch. That suggests that, in the longer term, it has bigger ambitions for the service.

India has been on a push to become a cashless economy since late last year, but the transition hasn’t been going too smoothly so far. At one point, the nation even started slashing prices for online purchases in a bid to encourage people to ditch paper money. Google will be hoping that its relatively universal approach could help win over remaining skeptics.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Geoffrey Hinton tells us why he’s now scared of the tech he helped build

“I have suddenly switched my views on whether these things are going to be more intelligent than us.”

Meet the people who use Notion to plan their whole lives

The workplace tool’s appeal extends far beyond organizing work projects. Many users find it’s just as useful for managing their free time.

Learning to code isn’t enough

Historically, learn-to-code efforts have provided opportunities for the few, but new efforts are aiming to be inclusive.

Deep learning pioneer Geoffrey Hinton has quit Google

Hinton will be speaking at EmTech Digital on Wednesday.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.